Like birds attracted to anything shiny, we couldn’t resist the lure of the brand new Celebrity Edge. We enjoy exploring new ships and this would be our third maiden cruise in the last two years.
Booking the Cruise
We looked at the 3 day preview cruises but the prices were almost as high as a 7 day! After Celebrity cancelled some earlier preview cruises and the first 7 day maiden was moved to December 9th, we put down a deposit on this one.
We hadn’t cruised with Celebrity before so had to read up on all the different stateroom classes. We decided to book a standard E2 Infinite Veranda on deck 8 aft directly through Celebrity UK. Concierge Class would have worked out at £400 or $500 extra per person and we didn’t think it was worth the extra cost. The booking included the Classic Drinks package and $300 on-board credit. We phoned Celebrity to upgrade to their Premium Drinks package (after looking at sample drink menus) and pre-booked online a range of dining reservations, the internet package for 2 devices and an excursion.
We parked in the Midport parking garage just across from Terminal 25 in Port Everglades.
We then wheeled our luggage across the crossing, over another road and along the length of the terminal towards Luggage Drop Off.
Check In was about 50 yards away and was marked by a huge Christmas Tree at the entrance.
We entered security at 12:30, had our eXpress passes scanned and photos taken by a lady with an IPad. There was a slight hiccup in that the online system had only allowed me to check-in myself and not Chris. So, after a small diversion to the check-in desks, we were onboard by 12:45.
We walked onto the ship on deck 5 by the aft elevator and was offered a welcome glass of sparkling wine. The staterooms were ready for us!
Celebrity Edge is absolutely stunning both in terms of venue design and artwork. Every day provided a new delight and a feast for the eyes.
Our favourite spot was the Rooftop Garden where we watched live bands at night.
The Martini Bar was also a good place to find a pre or post-dinner drink and had a buzz each evening. Especially when the light show was timed to music (Chris loved the Imperial March one).
Eden had some nice aft views and hidden spots where you can relax during the day.
And, of course, the Magic Carpet, which drew the eye of every cruise passenger walking past us in the ports!
The artwork is described in a book provided in each cabin and there is an amazing selection.
The exterior lighting at night is also wonderful, especially on the Resort Deck, Rooftop Garden and Sunset Bar.
Our stateroom was 8269 on deck 8 – not too far from the Aft elevators on the port side. Our SeaPasses were in an envelope outside the door. The excitement was palpable when we scanned our card to open the door for the first time.
We loved the calming taupe and white themed decor with a splash of purple as an accent.
We chose a stateroom with the bed near the window based on our preference from previous cruises. However, this meant that there was not a lot of space between the bed and the bi-fold doors.
The veranda chairs themselves were roomy and comfortable but you cannot lean back and Chris – a six footer – immediately spotted an issue with the central window frame being the same as his eye level so he would have to duck down or crane his neck for a clear view! Also you have two panes of glass to look through at the bottom so it is more opaque. Note that the white table has a removable top that becomes a full tray with handles when turned upside down.
The Infinite Veranda buttons are on the wall on the left hand side of the window.
There is an up and down button to close and open the window which you need to hold unless you want to stop halfway down. It takes about 15 seconds to open and 26 seconds to close.
As we look down, we see lifeboats rather than open water from our stateroom position.
The second set of up and down buttons control the closing and opening of the floor-to-ceiling blind. The blind takes around 40 seconds to close and 45 seconds to open. This is like a blackout blind, although the sun does creep in around the side edges, and feels like paper to touch.
You can also control the blind via the Celebrity app and from the control panel outside the bathroom. However you cannot stop halfway on these – only the buttons will let you do this.
The main issue with the design is the lack of space – you need to move the chairs forward to close the bi-fold doors and then move it back to close the blinds.
If you open the window during hot weather then the rest of the room gets humid rather quickly. If you close the bi-fold doors then the room stays cooler for longer. If we opened the window and our main cabin door then we would get a wind tunnel effect.
The captain can also decide to close and lock the windows in bad weather or when they need to clean the windows. This happened a number of times during our 7 day cruise and is indicated on the panel outside the bathroom. On one occasion we spotted the window cleaner in action during our port stop in Key West.
The rest of the stateroom is well designed with some lovely features and had plenty of storage for our needs.
The bathroom was gorgeous – with the same taupe and white theme.
The shower was really spacious, reasonably powerful and with a removable shower head. The bathroom products provided weren’t very fancy – standard X brand – but were fine. Apart from the oatmeal soap – I didn’t want to leave muesli trails everywhere!
The toilet, unfortunately, was squeezed in between the wall and the shower glass and was about as roomy as an airline toilet cubicle!
We loved the new technology provided with the stateroom:
- The panel outside the bathroom allowed you to control the blinds, the lighting levels as well as the room temperature.
- The international power and USB sockets box on the main desk. There is one European socket, two US and two USB sockets. There are also two USB sockets on the wall by one side of the bed and a USB socket in the phone (this one charges slowly).
- The magnficent 50″ 4K television – we watched, paused and resumed a movie and checked into BBC Worldwide News every day. It also includes a lot of information about the Edge. Note that you don’t get many decent free movies!
- You can unlock the stateroom door with your phone and control the TV through the Edge app. Note that this app was in beta form for our cruise and the activities were out of sync with reality!
However, there were a few issues with the stateroom:
- the mattress was pretty firm despite being part of the Cashmere Bedding Collection. I started getting a backache in the morning after a few days and enquired at Guest Services – they could not provide a mattress topper. I had the feeling you had to be in a suite to get that kind of service.
- needing to move the furniture around on the veranda to close the bi-fold doors as mentioned before.
- the small tables provided are really not large enough from which to eat room service.
- there is a full length mirror with a light around it – great for putting on make-up. But you then need to move the chair out and push in the side table to see yourself full-length in the mirror! Annoying if you are all dressed up!
Would we book an Infinite Veranda again?
We appreciate some of the benefits of the infinite veranda, such as the extra indoor space and being able to listen to the sea and feel the warmth from anywhere in your room. We even had a couple of afternoon naps with the window open!
However, given a choice, a balcony would be our preference so no, we would not book this type of stateroom again. The primary reason for us is that, if one of you wakes up early, then you cannot peak behind the blinds or go sit outside because the noise/light from raising the blinds would disturb the person still sleeping.
Also, the captain has an override so you don’t always have control – this happened about half a dozen times when we were in the room. You can always walk out onto a balcony. More significantly, the buttons for the window did not always respond immediately – we didn’t have to call Guest Services but it was a worry when the window became stuck halfway a few times! We just left it alone and it worked again after a few minutes. Not ideal.
Celebrity Edge has a number of new dining options. There are four complimentary main dining rooms which share the same menu each night apart from specialist dishes appropriate to the theme of the dining room. We chose Select rather than Traditional dining and ate in the Cosmopolitan, Normandie and Tuscan dining rooms. We pre-booked 6pm or 6:30pm slots and were seated immediately, mostly on shared tables when these were offered. The service and ambience were good but we thought the food and selection was better in Cosmopolitan – Chris loved the Manhattan Cut NY Strip Steak and I really liked the Carrot Cake. In general, however, we found the rest of the MDR dishes to be pretty average.
Example Cosmopolitan Menus and dishes
On the first night, we tried one of the speciality restaurants – the Rooftop Garden Grill. which has a $45 cover charge. This is an outside venue on deck 15 and boy, didn’t we know it! It was extremely windy and the staff were desperately trying to prevent the tableware from flying off the tables. Some diners were sitting in blankets even though it wasn’t a cold wind. I should have asked to re-book because the rest of the meal was spent with my hair getting caught in my teeth while I was trying to eat the food!
The menu had a lot of options we could go for but I think we just chose the wrong dishes on the night. Not a lot of wow factor. I did enjoy the Pulled Pork Slider Trio appetizer and Chris liked his Mac and Cheese though!
Celebrity will have to come up with some kind of solution to address the impact of the elements on this venue. For example, on the last night of the cruise we had pouring rain and gale force winds and the whole place was deserted.
We had a more satisfying meal at the Fine Cut Steakhouse which has a $55 cover charge. We were seated at a great table that overlooked the Grand Plaza and you could listen to the live music at the same time.
Chris asked for the Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese side as an appetizer – they offered two portions but one was enough, Each of the dishes were fabulous – they could have provided more sauce though. And I asked for a Loaded Baked Potato but got Potato Puree instead – we didn’t complain as Chris liked the look of the Puree so we swapped potato dishes.
One wish would have been for the Chocolate Brownie dessert to be warmed through.
Our third and final foray into speciality dining was not very successful. We had looked at eating dinner at Eden but Chris does not eat fish and there was two courses that were fish only. So not worth spending $65 on that! I looked into the updated menu for Raw on 5 and saw they had added some non-fish dishes which we could try on an a la carte basis. So we tried it out one evening..
I tried the Shrimp Tempura and it was really nice with piquant sauces. The Lobster Roll, however, was advertised as a hot plate but it was cold, covered in a creamy sauce. I asked the Maitre D’ and he admitted the menu had not been corrected – it was intended to be served cold all along. The waiter could have informed me in advance though! Chris ordered the Panko Fried Chicken Cutlet and ended up just eating the rice and curry sauce. The chicken was brown meat and “didn’t taste right”.
We decided to avoid dessert and cut our losses after spending $37! We popped up to the buffet in the Oceanview Cafe – I selected a couple of small desserts and Chris chose hot dog and fries as nothing else appealed!.
For breakfast, we ate in the Oceanview Cafe most mornings. This is nicely laid out with plenty of seats and great floor to ceiling windows. You can also get premium coffees and orange juice – handy if you are on the beverage package.
On the first morning, Chris thought the croissants were better than any he had eaten in Paris! The quality didn’t stay the same but the pastries were always a good bet. The hot food selection didn’t impress Chris which is a first after 25 cruises! I do like egg in the morning but in most cases you had to request this behind the queue of those wanting omelettes – I only found simple scrambled egg once and it was far too wet! I enjoyed the fresh fruit and cold cuts though.
We tried a Room Service breakfast once and the hot food quality was much better. A challenge to fit it on the furniture provided though!
Eden also has a nice selection of complimentary breakfast items. They do come pre-prepared though so I couldn’t get any sandwiches without egg for Chris. I loved their Bacon, Egg and Cheese Ciabatta!
We don’t tend to eat lunch on cruises, but we did eat a couple of times at the Mast Grill on the Resort Deck. Really tasty burgers and you can add your own toppings. They offer Cheeseburger, Hamburger, Veggie Burger, Turkey Burger, Hot Dog and French Fries. Plus self-serve ice-cream, varying from strawberry to chocolate or vanilla over the week.
Eden also has a complimentary lunch menu but we didn’t have a chance to try out the offerings.
If you need something sweet and complimentary then check out the cakes and cookies in Cafe El Bacio.
What about dining on the Magic Carpet? Well you cannot book this until you are onboard. Dinner is only held once a cruise (subject to weather) for a restricted number and we later heard that the list was completely full an hour before we got on board. We did enquire but it was too late. Brunch could be done on a walk-in basis from Raw on 5 but after our dining experience there we decided not to try this.
There are a distinct lack of bars on Celebrity Edge particularly for pre and post-dinner drinks – the Martini Bar is the only internal bar close to the main complimentary dining rooms and it got extremely busy at times. We tended to go directly to the restaurant later in the cruise knowing it would be packed to the rafters and we would have to wait for service.
Chris was disappointed in the lack of beers on tap but found his favourite tipple – the Margarita Coronita – in the Sunset Bar.
So this became his go-to bar – even in the pouring rain! We also had great waiter service from the nearby Rooftop Garden.
We drank in other bars such the Pool Bar, The Club (good choice of spirits) and Eden but this was only occasionally. Cafe el Bacio also has some Expresso-based cocktails if you can’t find a seat at the Martini Bar downstairs.
The live music performances we caught on Celebrity Edge were fantastic. Dos Duo were a couple of talented musicians from Europe who did Electro-Acoustic covers. And Impulse were a full band with multiple singers who also did great covers. There was even a Sitar player in Eden who provided some soothing background music. For the maiden visit to Cozumel there were a range of performers on a Mexican theme – some in ‘Day of the Dead’ make-up!. We enjoyed listening to a great violinist in the Grand Plaza and a Columbian band in the Rooftop Garden.
There was even the spectacle of a Day of the Dead synchronised swimmer and musicians on the Resort Deck.
Early in the cruise, we stopped by the theatre and the performances (mostly singing more recent songs with dancing) sounded and looked great with all the new technology available. These kind of productions are not our thing so we didn’t stay long.
In fact, we found it hard to find many entertainment activities to fill our time. There was no trivia or comedians in the first few days and no audience participation shows. Apart from the Silent Disco late at night, the Daily Planner seemed to be full of puzzle challenges and sales opportunities!
We spoke to a few Celebrity regulars and they said this was not the norm. It seems Celebrity Edge is being pitched at a certain demographic and that isn’t us! Later in the week they added a Timeplay trivia game and Deal or No Deal, both of which required an entrance fee. And then free Trivia appeared twice a day but you needed to use a phone or tablet, have only 20 seconds to answer each question and are expected to find teammates in a darkened room to huddle over one device! Where is the fun in that?
Another theme for the entertainment on Celebrity Edge is performance art. We knew Eden would have people dressed as characters and there would be dancing and gymnastics during evening performances. However, the characters walked through the ship during the day sometimes engaging with passengers. On one occasion we witnessed a group of performers carry something imaginary up to Cafe El Bacio and then offer to massage a lady passenger’s head!
We laughed it off but didn’t feel we needed to go to Eden that evening.
When Club Andromeda appeared in the Daily Planner we got excited. There was some kind of Stargate in the entrance which would “scan” us and give us another character for the night.
We were given a mission based on one of maybe six characters and were meant to engage with yet more performance artists!
This appealed to our love of sci-fi but we had to do all the hard work! It was a bit disappointing.
On our final night on this gorgeous ship, we were determined to try out one of the Martini-glass hot tubs suspended above the Resort Deck. So after dinner we went back to the stateroom to change. We then turned up on the open deck only to find pouring with rain and gale force winds! We didn’t give up – we trekked up the jogging track, pushing against the wind, and getting incredibly wet. We hid our outer clothes in the towel stand and sank into the gloriously warm hot tub! Heaven!
Just a brief mention of the shopping options on Celebrity Edge – yes these were upscale but so were the souvenirs! There were no small trinkets, key rings or fridge magnets to buy. Only T-Shirts for $50, ship models, cups, caps and lanyards which didn’t even have the Edge logo! Very disappointing – hope this improves in the future.
However, Celebrity did give us a nice Maiden framed picture and some orange branded Edge water bottles.
The ship’s wi-fi was speedy and reliable – we only had to log off/on twice over the whole seven days.
Essentially, the ship was the destination for this cruise so we didn’t get off in Cozumel and Costa Maya. But we had unfinished business in Key West and wanted to try out the tender boat service and a Celebrity excursion in Grand Cayman.
For Key West, it was the first chance to see the ship in full from a port. We sat opposite the dock and drank her in!
We headed out past the Custom House and picked up the free Duval Loop Bus at stop 4 which dropped us off a short walk away from the Ernest Hemingway Home at stop 8.
We paid $14 each to enter and walked around the grounds to do some cat spotting!
We got back on the Duval Bus and got off near Duval Street so we could look around the shops before heading back to the ship – but not before picking up a chocolate-dipped key lime pie on a stick!
For Grand Cayman, we booked the Cayman Highlights Tour (length 2 hour 30 mins) just to get a flavour of the island and to visit the infamous Hell post office. We were instructed to meet in The Club with other tours, given tour numbers and then directed down to deck 2 for disembarkation by tender. This was on a Cayman Islands tender boat which took a long time to load!
We met under a tented area and then were led out to be loaded onto small buses – we were then driven along Seven Mile beach with suitable commentary from our driver Andrew. There was a stop for photos at the end.
Next stop was the Tortuga Rum factory to sample some local rum and delicious rum cake – of course, we bought some too!
Just along the road was Hell post office with the black limestone formation out the back which gave Hell it’s name.
A Blue Iguana even came out to say hello!
We popped into the Post Office for some souvenirs for our family and Chris stood outside for a picture with a cardboard cut-out of the owner in his Devil outfit.
The last stop was a viewpoint from a tower in a new development which gave you views over the island.
Once we got back to the port area, we timed it so we could get onto a Celebrity Edge lifeboat back to the ship. It had rained while we waited so the floors were very wet, however it was very plush compared to your usual lifeboat.
And the best part was walking through the Magic Carpet to get back onto the ship.
We wanted to self-disembark so we could get on the road quickly. We were told that announcements would be made at around 7:15am but we headed down to the deck 5 gangway at 6:40am and there were already 15-20 people in front of us!
There was a delay in clearing the ship so we didn’t get off until about 7:35am. There is a long walk almost two thirds of the length of the ship in the terminal but then there is an elevator and escalator down to Customs. This was a breeze as they used facial recognition to wave you through to the luggage area. We then walked back to the parking garage – a shorter walk as you were at the other end of the terminal to check-in. There was a slight delay at the garage while we waited for an elevator alongside returning Holland and America passengers and their luggage. There was a short five minute wait to pay at the payment barrier.
Would we book a Celebrity Edge cruise again?
It took a while for us to get into this cruise as it had a totally different feel to our previous 24 cruises. We did enjoy ourselves – it had some flashes of brilliance but the entertainment offerings let it down. The staff and service were good in general. So we would cruise on her again if the entertainment was revised and we could book a standard balcony – even though there aren’t many of these on the ship. The pricing is also pretty high (also for it’s sister ship the Apex) so hope this will settle down.